Pages tagged “game theory”

04 Sep 2013

Running a race backwards

How do you (reasonably fairly) handicap a race without information about the competitors' abilities? The idea of handicaps is a pretty simple one: it’s used in golf, chess, tennis and horse racing. It relies on participants' performance data being available, and being trusted: if I’m expected to go round the course in three shots fewer than you, I’ll start with a three shot penalty, and then we’re equally likely to win.

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01 May 2013

Passing up an opportunity

I occasionally shout at the TV: it’s a weakness of mine. Feel free to imagine me slumped in a chair in a Rab C. Nesbitt vest, clutching a scan of Kestrel and sputtering at: football lack/triviality of “science” questions on University Challenge. “Who discovered the electron?” is no more a science question than most of the “maths” questions that begin with “Answer as soon as you buzz”. mispronunciation of the word “the”.

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29 Oct 2012

Induction by Sod's Law

Sarah and I are waiting for a baby at the moment. I’m certainly excited, but Sarah can’t wait to get on with the whole birth thing! It makes statistics like these highly pertinent: Probably Overthinking It - are first babies more likely to be late?. Highly recommended reading, by the way. There are many traditional methods of “getting things moving” -ahem - but one that only occurred to me recently, I’ve called “Induction by Sod’s Law”.

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19 Sep 2012

Pricing a raffle

I’m selling our campervan. It’s not going to raise a lot of money. But Matthew at work suggested a novel way of selling it, which got me thinking. “Have a raffle,” he said, “two quid a ticket. Bet you could sell loads.” I’m not sure about the legalities, and I am sure it’d be tricky to achieve a few hundred, small-but-traceable transactions (without sitting in town selling tickets), so I’m going to stick to the more conventional methods.

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